I am in love with beets as they are is easy to prepare and pair well with sweet and savory dishes. I have worked hard to create a borscht recipe that is perfectly balanced. Borscht is really a term for an array of eastern European dishes that are made differently in many countries. I like to think of borscht as a way for both Jake and I to connect with our heritage – it is considered both a Jewish dish and a Catholic holiday dish – as well as a way to feel a human connection with other parts of the world, namely Ukraine, that deserve my thoughts. While borscht can also be a vegetarian dish, in this particular recipe I chose to include beef for an added level of flavor. Don’t be tempted to omit the pickled beets or sauerkraut either – you can find these canned at the grocery store, and they add a layer of complexity that takes this soup from a simple dish to a fantastic meal!
Serves 4 – 5 as a main course.
- 3 large beets
- 1 1/2 pound beef with shin bone in
- 1/2 cup beet greens (if attached)
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 large carrots
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 1 1/2 cup rutabaga (substitute potato)
- 1/2 cup pickled beet
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut
- 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tbsp fresh sage leaves, sliced
- 1/4 tsp coriander seed
- 1/4 tsp fennel seed
- 1 1/2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or substitute 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Garnish with croutons, fresh dill and sour cream
Cut the beef into 2 inch wide strips. In a 5 quart Dutch oven or pot, combine the beef with the stock and water and bring to a boil. Peel and dice the onion (I like a medium dice) and saute the onions with the butter and a pinch of salt until slightly browned. Wash, peel, and chop the carrots and add the onions and the carrots to the broth. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients.
On a baking sheet, wrap the beets in foil and roast beets for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove, unwrap using oven mitts, and cut the beets in half. Let them cool for about ten minutes, then peel and grate on a box grater. Set aside. Peel and finely dice rutabaga. Drain and dice pickled beets. Add beets and rutabaga with the pickled beet, bay leaf, sage leaves, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Quickly toast the coriander and fennel in a dry skillet for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, then add to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover, and cook for an additonal 1 1/2 hours (for a total of 3 hours).
Remove the bones of the beef, then take the beef out, roughly chop, and add back into the soup, stirring to mix. Serve into bowls and garnish with rye croutons, sour cream or yogurt, and roughly chopped fresh dill.